International

Moyes' men to test Madrid

2015-01-30 09:27
David Moyes (AFP)

Madrid - David Moyes will face the biggest test of his brief spell in charge of Real Sociedad when the Basques visit Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

However, the trip for Moyes's men isn't quite as daunting as it could have been with three-time World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo banned for kicking out at Cordoba defender Edimar during Madrid's 2-1 win last weekend.

Gareth Bale sealed those crucial three points for Carlo Ancelotti's men with a late penalty after Ronaldo had been dismissed for the ninth time in his career.

And Madrid will need Bale to be on top form whilst their top scorer watches on from the sidelines for the next two games.

Bale netted in Ronaldo's absence through injury when the sides met earlier in the season, but, despite roaring into an early 2-0 lead, Madrid were eventually defeated 4-2.

Upsets have been a feature of Sociedad's season as they have beaten La Liga champions Atletico Madrid and Barcelona as well as Real under three different coaches.

Moyes masterminded the latest of those triumphs against Barca early this month, but his side have failed to kick on since with just one win in five games since to remain in the bottom half of the table.

Esteban Granero will be returning to face the club where he started his career and all too aware that Sociedad have to be at their best if they are to shock Madrid once more.

"January is a difficult month for them because they play a lot of games and it seems that they aren't in the same form that they were before, but they have too much potential for that to affect us. Moreover, they are playing at the Bernabeu where they have fewer doubts.

"We expect to face the best Real Madrid, but if we are also at our best then we have a chance to win."

On top of Ronaldo's absence, Pepe and Luka Modric remain out injured, but Isco should return in midfield after missing out against Cordoba.

Victory for Madrid will open up a four-point gap on Barcelona, who face the in-form Villarreal at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

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